Week In Review: Type 1.3

Last Tuesday I was diagnosed with Diabetes. Having very little understanding of the illness since the only person in my life who had it was my grandfather, and he died before I was born, I thought that "Juvenile Diabetes" had to hit you before you made it to puberty or something like that. At 23, this came as a bit of a shock.

My new doctor set me up with four other appointments and took 6 full vials of blood from my arm. The next day, I went back to the medical center and spent three hours to learn what diabetes is, discuss my blood tests with an endocrinologist (who also graduated from Dartmouth!), learn how to prick my finger to test my own blood and inject myself with insulin, and give them 3 more huge vials of blood. Sitting there with the nurse pinching a chunk of my skin while I was holding a needle an inch from my own belly was probably the most distressing 45 seconds of my life. Every ounce of my being was thinking "Really? I'm supposed to stab my SELF? This is wrong. This is very wrong." And then the nurse grabbed my hand and shoved it towards my stomach. It really didn't hurt at all. And then I did the injection part, which felt weird because of the fluid, but not terrible. And then the pressure started to build up behind my skin and felt like really really concentrated muscle cramps and I wanted to scream. And that was just a small "test dose". At least now I have something exciting to look forward to every night before I go to bed FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE.

I'm definitely happy at the prospect of no longer having mystery symptoms. I can live with the possibility that my vision may deteriorate because I look great in glasses, I've been blessed with perfect vision so far in life, and one of the greatest women I know has been legally blind since childhood. Heck, I can even deal with the idea of losing a foot and getting robot legs instead, or a wheel like Rosie on the Jetsons and registering as a motor vehicle. The needle gridlines on my stomach will be fun to play tic-tac-toe or Boxes on. I get a pretty piece of new jewelry as a Medic ID. And the fact that I have now seventeen different prescriptions to pay for every month is fine because my health insurance is really good. My biggest problem? Carb counting. And the NO CANDY rule.

Up until now, I've eaten whatever I wanted, in whatever quantity I wanted, whenever I was hungry. This past summer I lived off hot dogs, ice cream, and mac & cheese. In high school I ate Pixie Stix and cake icing for breakfast, pizza and fries for lunch, Hamburger Helper for dinner, and a case of Mountain Dew to wash it all down. In college I made the switch to Organic, but I still ate two king size chocolate bars as a study snack. And I studied a lot. My boyfriend and his family are Italian. Pasta is my staple.

The insulin is working well for me, which implies I am type 1 and insulin dependent, so yesterday they upped my daily dosage and put me also on a new type - fast acting that I have to take with meals. My doctors and I are going to get this well under control, such that I can even still eat pasta to some extent, but that doesn't make it any less frustrating when I walk through the grocery store near my office in the morning and can't find a decent breakfast bar with less than 35g of Carbohydrate.

So in conclusion, I'm feeling very relieved, a little pathetic, a little excited at a new adventure to conquer, a little stubborn about the foods I love, open to new foods to love, and a little worried that I might not be the only grandkid in my generation to turn up diabetic. But hey, I'm blazing this trail and will be ready to coach anyone who follows me down it.

1 comment:

Allie said...

Also, I can eat all the hot dogs I want. Bun-free, of course, but that's how I like them.